How to Reduce Acne Redness Overnight

Close-up of a mid adult woman wiping her face with a cotton pad
A woman is cleansing her face with a cotton pad. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

If a pesky pimple is threatening to ruin your tomorrow, don’t go to bed without taking a few simple precautions. You don’t need an expensive zit-zapping device or a cortisone shot to make your skin camera-ready. A few basic pantry supplies can do the trick.

Step 1

Cleanse your face with a mild soap-free face wash. Excess oil production is part of what causes acne, but sometimes trying too hard to get rid of oil can backfire. Celebrity skin guru Mario Badescu lists over-cleansing as one of the biggest mistakes you can make when fighting acne. Stripping your skin of its natural moisture, he says, is only likely to make your oil glands work overtime.

Step 2

Use aspirin instead of zit cream to treat problem areas. Julie Gabriel, author of “The Green Beauty Guide,” writes that aspirin contains natural salicylic acid that treats the swelling and inflammation associated with a pimple. She suggests slicing a nongel-coated aspirin tablet in half, gently wetting it and using an adhesive bandage to hold it against the pimple.

Step 3

Spot check any remaining redness with a drop of redness-relief eye drops. Dr. Audrey Kunin, dermatologist and assistant clinical instructor of dermatology at the University of Kansas School or Medicine, says these eye drops will also remove the redness from your zit--albeit temporarily. She suggests soaking a cotton swab with the eye drops and holding it on your zit for 10 seconds.

Step 4

Dab inflamed areas with a bit of toothpaste. Although there are no scientific studies confirming the effect of toothpaste on acne, this folk remedy still makes the rounds on many online acne help forums. In “Simple Skin Beauty,” Dr. Ellen Marmur and Gina Way hypothesize that it’s more likely to work if your toothpaste contains silica, a drying agent. They suggest you avoid pastes with menthol or fluoride, which can irritate your skin to the point of producing even more zits.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap-free cleanser

  • Uncoated aspirin tablet

  • Adhesive bandage

  • Redness-relief eye drops

  • Cotton swab

  • Toothpaste with silica

Warning

Don’t give in to the urge to pop a pimple. Dr. Kunin notes that you’re more likely to spread acne-causing bacteria to the rest of your face than eradicate the pimples you already have.

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